Wednesday, September 30, 2015

"... remember what peace there may be in silence."

I'll be honest: I find absolutely no peace in silence. Because no silence is perfect.

I have tried to take quiet moments for myself. To pause, take a deep breath, reboot, and refresh. But, if I'm going to enjoy some "silence," I can't actually allow things to be completely silent.

Silence always gets broken by something. Beeping. Dogs barking. People driving by in loud cars or with music blasting. An electronic hum or buzz from some malfunctioning appliance.

Whenever I try to enjoy silence, it usually ends up failing. Small noises irritate me when they punctuate stillness. Ignoring them is difficult at best. Sometimes, when I'm really frustrated, I get into a contest with myself about how far out I can extend my hearing until I can hear something really annoying (usually it's right outside my house - children screaming and dogs barking are constant noises in my neighborhood). I do this in order to put myself into a bad mood. Why? I have no idea, it just seems to be my default setting.

For me, silence means some kind of white noise. When the background noise is consistent, I can focus on it, and it can drown out that which is bothering me. I can focus on the noise, and then ignore it, while it effectively keeps everything else at bay.

That is why I constantly have noises on in the background - either the TV at a low volume, or the quiet hum of my air purifier. The sleep I experience with these faint noises in the background is much deeper than any sleep I experience when things are silent. Silence awakens me, actually.

I don't know what this says about me. Right now, things are fairly silent in my room. I don't have my white noise going. Instead, there is a constant ringing in my ears. I wonder if I've done that to myself, if it would ever go away if I were able to tolerate sitting like this for longer periods of time.

I wonder if not being able to find peace in silence suggests that I'm damaged in some way. The fact that being quiet, without anything else to focus on, alone in my thoughts... it brings me no peace... does that mean I just can't stand myself? That I need to always be focusing on something external to myself, because I find myself unbearable?

Right now, it wouldn't surprise me. I find my state of mind deplorable. Lazy. Depressed. Anxious. Tired. Thoughts circling endlessly, trying to find solutions to problems that really don't have much in the way of "solutions" as much as they just have "inevitable ends." I fixate on the same narrow issues over and over again and cannot shake them, winding myself up until I'm ridiculously angry and tense.

I don't know how to find peace in silence, maybe because I feel like I've never experienced silence. I wonder if silence is actually relative. Is right now silent? The garbage truck is chugging down my street noisily as my dogs wrestle in the background. Or maybe now... the truck is past, but I hear the dishwasher going downstairs, and my Jack Russell Terrier is trying to worm her way into my lap.

This is also why I cannot meditate effectively right now. Sitting still and drifting off... I'm so restless. I don't know how to find that stillness. This is surprising to me, because I can find stillness and peace when I'm reading a book. It doesn't take much for me to focus, and get lost in the pages. Maybe I just need to read more... to give my brain other things to think about, until it is so full of wonderful thoughts from good authors, that it has room for nothing else in terms of negativity.

I hope I can find some other ways to somehow find peace in silence.

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